According to foreign media reports, you may have seen the dog laughing at you: the mouth is open, the lips are squatting back, and the tongue is stretched out, it looks like a brilliant smile. But is this really the case? Will the dog express his happiness and satisfaction with this expression like human beings?
In other words, does the dog really laugh at us?
The answer to this question is rooted in our dog history of more than 30,000 years. Because of this history, a unique connection between humans and dogs has also made dogs a very useful research object in communication research. The research dog provides us with a very unique Investigate opportunities for social exchange between different species.
Most of these studies highlight the uniqueness of the communication ties between humans and dogs. For example, the researchers found that dogs can understand human gaze and use eye contact in ways that few animals can do.
In one study, the researchers asked the wolf and the dog to complete a seemingly impossible task: open the container, get the meat inside, and test their response to the task. The researchers found that once the wolf realized that he couldn’t open the container, he would walk away; but the dog would turn around and stare at humans for a long time with a longing look, indicating that the dog knew that humans would help them get the job done.
Another study found that when gazing at each other, dogs and humans have elevated levels of oxytocin, a hormone associated with social connections. What’s more interesting is that once you smell the oxytocin, you will stare at humans for a longer time.
When you think about it, gazing at each other is actually the fundamental mechanism of cooperation. This is especially true for animals that don’t talk like dogs. This feature is gradually domesticated in the process of human domestication of dogs. Dogs that look at humans tend to It is easier to work with humans and easier to train. So maybe it’s these unintentional or deliberate choices that have led to the behavior we see today.
In any case, it is clear that eye contact is an important way for dogs to collect information and communicate.
But what is the expression on the dog’s face? What do these expressions have to do with humans? Do dogs really use these expressions to communicate with humans?
This question is very interesting. You must have seen the “innocent dog eyes” formed by the inner side of the eyebrow arch.
To this end, scientists used the Facial Motion Decoding System (FACS) to measure the small facial movements of dogs in stray dog shelters when interacting with humans. The researchers then continued the adoption of these dogs. Tracking, the results found that “the more times a dog exposes this facial action (dog eyes), the faster it will find a new home, and the other behaviors analyzed by the researchers have no such effect.
Next, scientists also want to find out whether this behavior is “intentional”. Do the dogs understand or gradually realize that if they do this, what will humans do for them? So another experiment was designed to allow dogs to get in touch with some humans, some of whom would give them food and some wouldn’t. If the dog knows the power of this innocent expression, it will follow those who might give them food in order to get food.
But… they didn’t do it. Although the dog is richer in expression when looking at humans (again reinforces the theory that ‘eye contact is very important for dog communication’), but with or without food, they all have the same frequency of revealing this innocent expression. Maybe when humans are domesticating dogs, they will subconsciously choose dogs with this cute feature, because it is like the expression that we show when we are sad, it is easy to motivate people to love their emotions, but this does not necessarily mean dogs. Learn to use this expression.
This is back to the question of whether the dog will “laugh”. Is the dog’s mouth open and the human mouth grinning? There is no data yet to tell us the actual meaning of this behavior.
The problem with studying dog expressions is that our research tools are usually subjective, and together with our tendency to anthropomorphize animals, it is easy to misinterpret the dog’s facial expressions.
In fact, there is almost no objective research to prove that dogs will “laugh”. Research has shown that this expression, called “open mouth openly,” usually appears in a positive situation, such as when a dog wants to invite another dog to play. But can this expression be called a “smile”? Or does the dog deliberately reveal this expression to us to exchange some kind of information? We are still unclear.
To answer this question, we need to use more objective research techniques (such as facial motion decoding systems) to analyze whether specific facial expressions are related to a particular situation, and what the motivation of the dog to reveal these expressions is. This type of technology is used for analysis, and we currently have a general lack of research on the expression of dogs.
Many dog owners have been treating their dogs’ mouths as smiles for years, so the above findings may be a little disappointing. But from a certain point of view, this is fine, because there is already a lot of evidence to prove how special our relationship with dogs is.
A dog is the only creature we know to be able to properly listen to and understand human movements. Even our recent “close relatives” chimpanzees can’t do this. In addition, dogs also have a preference for certain types of sounds. They prefer not only dogs-related sentences (such as “Who is a baby?”), but also prefer to use a higher-pitched, singing-like tone. The companionship of the talking human being.
So, no matter whether the dogs really laugh, at least one thing is clear: they can understand what we are doing with great precision. Therefore, Benjamin pointed out that we should be inspired to make ourselves better and more sensitive communicators.
Dogs are doing very well, they understand very subtle signals, so as human beings, our duty is to send them the right signals to understand how to work better with us.
What if you want to laugh at them – why not?